COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – In the first tournament following Olympic qualification, two USA beach teams finish in the Top 5 at the Olsztyn Grand Slam in Poland.
Jake Gibb and Casey Patterson tied their best finish in 2016, placing fourth after a pair of three-set losses to Brazil in the final rounds. Lauren Fendrick and Brooke Sweat also tied their best finish on the year, fifth-place.
One week removed from qualifying for the 2016 Olympic Games and being named to the U.S. Olympic Beach Volleyball Team, Jake Gibb/Casey Patterson and Lauren Fendrick/Brooke Sweat continued on the World Tour, which concludes in mid-October.
Both pairs tied their 2016 best finishes, fourth-place for Gibb and Patterson and fifth-place for Fendrick and Sweat.
Gibb and Patterson opened with a 3-0 record in pool play for the automatic bye into the second round. There they beat Latvia’s Martins Plavins/Haralds Regza, 21-17, 21-19. In the quarterfinals, Gibb and Patterson faced off against Hyden/Bourne for a spot in a medal round match. It was the sixth meeting of the two American teams dating back to 2014. Gibb and Patterson has won each of the matchups and in Olsztyn they did it once again, 21-19, 21-15. With the loss, Hyden and Bourne tied for fifth for the fourth time in 2016.
Having already played two Brazilian teams in pool play, Gibb and Patterson were in store for yet another, this time in World Championship winners Alison Cerutti/Bruno Schmidt. The three-set match saw the Americans take their first loss of the tournament, 21-16, 18-21, 18-16. Then in the bronze medal match, they once again faced Brazil, this time Gustavo Carvalhaes/Saymon Santos whom they already played in pool. Unlike Friday’s result of a U.S. win, another three setter saw Brazil take the edge and the victory, 21-15, 19-21, 15-11.
For the American women, Fendrick and Sweat entered the week seeded eighth. A 3-0 finish in pool play included a win over fellow country mates Kimberly DiCello/Kendra Vanzwieten, 12-21, 24-22, 16-14. On to the second round, the pair toppled China 21-13, 21-16 for their first appearance in the quarterfinals since the Cincinnati Open in May.
Against Brazil’s Larissa Maestrini/Talita Antunes, Fendrick and Sweat were eliminated, 21-13, 21-10. It tied their best finish in 2016.
Also tying a team record were Theo Brunner and Billy Allen, who in their second international event together followed their 17th-place finish in Hamburg with another 17th-place finish. The pair were eliminated in the first round by Switzerland.
For DiCello/Vanzwieten, their 25th-place finish is their fourth T25 finish on the year. Irene Pollock/Caitlin Ledoux, who went 1-2 in pool play, also tied for 25th.
The FIVB World Tour continues with the next stop at the Porec Major, June 28-July 3. There are three more stops before the World Tour breaks during the Olympic Games, all three pre-Games tournaments are Majors. Following the Olympics, the World Tour returns to the United States at the Long Beach Grand Slam, Aug. 23-28. The Swatch FIVB World Tour Finals will be Sept. 13-18, the location TBD. To conclude the 2016 calendar, the World Tour will host the Puerto Vallarta Open in Mexico, Oct. 11-16.
WEEK IN REVIEW
FIVB Olsztyn Grand Slam
– Jake Gibb/Casey Patterson finished fourth for the second time in 2016 (Moscow Grand Slam)
– John Hyden/Tri Bourne tied for fifth, their seventh Top 5 finish in 2016
– Lauren Fendrick/Brooke Sweat tied for fifth, their best finish since doing so at the Cincinnati Open on May 20
– Theo Brunner/Billy Allen tied for 17th in their second international event together
– Irene Pollock/Caitlin Ledoux tied for 25th, their fourth Top 25 finish in 2016
– Kendra Vanzwieten/Kimberly DiCello tied for 25th, their fourth Top 25 finish in 2016
– Lost in qualification: Amanda Dowdy/Emily Stockman lost in the second round of qualification
June 23-25 NVL San Antonio
June 23-26 AVP San Francisco
June 28-July 3 Porec Major
July 1-3 NORCECA North Bay
July 5-10 Gstaad Major
July 9 *Tentative* announcement of Olympic pool placements
July 14-16 NVL Columbus
July 14-17 AVP Manhattan Beach Open
July 15-17 NORCECA Varadero
Aug. 5-18 Olympic Games beach volleyball matches
Aug. 5-7 NORCECA Boqueron
Aug. 11-13 NVL Hermosa Beach
Aug. 23-28 Long Beach Grand Slam
Aug. 26-28 NVL Virginia Beach
Sept. 1-4 AVP Chicago
Sept. 8-12 NVL Port St. Lucie
Sept. 13-18 Swatch FIVB World Tour Finals
Oct. 1-2 NORCECA St. Thomas
Oct. 14-16 Puerto Vallarta Open
Oct. 14-16 NORCECA Pigeon Point
Nov. 18-20 NORCECA San Salvador
Nov. 25-27 NORCECA Tobago